Articles for January 2013

Evernote-Punchfork-Pinterest- interesting change

Almost a year ago when Evernote launched “Evernote Food”, same caught my attention immediately as we were working on recipe app on the side back then. No wonder Evernote Food got traction in what seems like ever growing Evernote community. Although ability to scrape, bookmark, and add pictures is convenient, I always wondered about usefulness of the app for actually using it as a companion while cooking. To me it was a digital version of grandma’s notebook for referring what to cook, not actually to follow recipes step by step while cooking.

Recently around mid of December 2012, I noticed Evernote Food 2.0 announcement where they mentioned ability to collect recipes from Punchfork, nice site for collecting/sharing recipes with friends and families. By the time us, users can figure out what such integration means, there came the news about Pinterest acquiring Punchfork in first week of January 2013. All within a span of 12-13 days, interesting!!! Punchfork soon will retire their site and API, effectively blocking access to recipes for Evernote users as well.

Anyway, at the moment we are very focused on building an app which will be your companion as you cook not just a digital library of recipes. We are using JSON files to store recipes which probably should be turned in to some standard format all could use making sharing and presenting recipes easy. This is because you can access individual elements which makes recipe such as ingredients, ingredients per cooking step, cooking steps, heat and time per step, images etc. You then can choose appropriate representation on UI for these details. Perhaps best thing will be to build easy to use recipe writer app which will store recipes in this standard format. Thought for another day, meanwhile back to what we are building today.

My son, our food critic

I am a loving dad of six year old son who thinks about home cooking way different today than before becoming dad. What changed?

Manas was six month old when Mrunal started giving him freshly squeezed veggie juice without salt or sugar, simple rice in a form of kanji etc. Manas always loved playing in kitchen (of course kids know what is important ;>) Mrunal always encouraged him to work with her in kitchen. When he was about 3 year old, his participation was more active, wash veggies, bring ingredients from pantry, watch oven timer etc. Of course after working for the meal, he was always eager to try (no wonder “stake in the game” means so much) the food. We never have to force him to eat good food.

All this helped to grow his taste bud and now he pretty much eats anything served. With that said, you can see why I think differently about home cooking now. Growing good food habits is hard and it starts right here, in our kitchen.

Manas of course has developed taste for good food. I told Mrunal these experiments could boomerang, which turned out to be true in a good sense. Bar is now set to high, food must be good else he will say so and sometimes even will offer suggestions to improve taste.

Manas provides honest feedback to Mrunal as she is creating new recipes for the app. When you will try Mrunal’s recipes, rest assured that they are approved by 6 year old food critic. See below picture he drew the other day capturing his food critic role. Happy cooking!!

food-critic

food-critic

Why I love cooking rice!

When we were talking about iOS app development, I knew I would love to develop cooking app. Over the years I have enjoyed learning and sharing recipes with friends and family so it was no brainer that in the mobile world, iOS cooking app will be a great way to reach to larger community.

Once team agreed on developing recipe app, I thought about various themes and decided focussing on rice recipes. There are many reasons why cooking rice is close to my heart. I love eating rice very much because I was raised in the region (India) where they grow lots of rice. For that matter rice is the staple food for most of the people in Asia. In my home town as I was growing up, I remember those lush green rice paddies and people working in monsoon season. A picture perfect memory stayed with me all these years.

When I learned cooking from my mother it was rice that I learned to cook first. Rice is actually easy to cook for the beginners in the kitchen. Also it’s very versatile, you can use it in salad, main course, and yes dessert as well.

I will definitely share more things about my experiences in the kitchen. I hope you will enjoy such tidbits. Happy Cooking !!

2012 – some memories

Happy new year!!!!

2012 will remain a special year for us at designX6. We were able to form a business entity, imagine, build, release a product in app store, and made a good progress on our second product, a recipe app. As I look back there are lots of memories and some I would like to share here.

  • Interesting conversions about HallowsThieves game – what the game should be, should we let users customize the game or not, what can we do to reward user for completing game, how should we explain game, graphics, and so on. What is good to know that within small team we have skills and know how to get things done once we decided what is the right thing to do.
  • Pricing – Yes it was about our first product but more so about what we believe as a pricing model. We decided to not follow “Freemium” model and or model which rely on say ads to make up for distributing product for free. Our goal is simple, build something useful and great and charge fair price for the same.
  • Paperwork – Amazing isn’t it? Rick thanks, you sure have more patience than I do to deal with different forms/paper required to have a business entity and access to Apple app store.
  • Recipe app – I am glad that we are not afraid of change :-). UI prototype has seen so many iterations that when I look back at old work, I wonder what were we thinking back then. Anyway I am excited about our goal for the app and prototypes we are working with in order to achieve the same. Change is good!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank team members, friends and family who tested our app, and of course folks who bought our app.